'India lacked bowling partnerships in New Zealand ODIs'
Pacer Munaf Patel said that dearth of effective bowling partnerships undid India during the last month's five-match ODI series against New Zealand which the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led side lost 0-4.
"If you see individually, if in one match somebody has not bowled well, then in another they have done well. But the partnership that needs to be there between the bowlers was lacking and we lost because of that," Munaf said.
The Baroda bowler, whose career has been racked by injuries and poor form, felt the Indian bowlers were going for plenty of runs in the death overs in the last few series, prompting Dhoni to criticise them.
"When you bowl in slog overs, you need to know what is the kind of delivery you are going to bowl and the area, because a lot of runs are conceded in the slog overs. In the last few months and last few series we have been giving away a lot of runs in the slog overs and perhaps, because of that Dhoni said that bowlers need to use brains."
Image: Bhuvneshwar Kumar
Photographs: Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images
'Youngsters can learn a lot from Zaheer'
Munaf said the presence of senior bowler Zaheer Khan in the two-Test rubber that began at Auckland would help the youngsters, as they can learn from him.
"It makes a lot of difference. If you make a mistake and Zaheer is around, he tries to help and rectify it. The presence of a senior player on the ground is very important."
The 30-year-old paceman, who last represented India in 2011, said as a bowler he did not support the new ODI rules.
"No bowler in the world will agree to these things (rules) because batsmen like the rules that are made against the bowlers and bowlers like those which are made against the batsmen. We are not happy, but whatever rules the ICC (International Cricket Council) makes, we have to follow them," he said.
Image: Zaheer Khan
Photographs: Phil Walter/Getty Images
'Working hard on a comeback'
Munaf, who has taken 35 and 86 wickets in Tests and ODIs respectively before losing his place in the Indian squad, said he was working very hard in his bid to return to top flight cricket.
"It may happen. I am working hard. It is up to the selectors, if they feel a person is capable, they select him... I am working hard, let's see what happens."
The Baroda bowler, a member of the triumphant World Cup team of 2011, said he has been successful in the short formats -- T20 and ODIs -- as his line and length supports him.
Munaf, who has represented Rajasthan Royals and Mumbai Indians in the cash-rich Indian Premier League, was confident of performing well for whichever team that buys him in the IPL auction slated for later this month.
"They (Mumbai Indians) could retain only five players and they retained their best five. There are eight franchises and whoever picks me in the auction, my job is to perform well and play for the team and help them win. I will try that," he said.
'I have worked hard on my fitness'
The right-arm speedster said he has worked hard on his fitness and is focusing on domestic matches like the Vijay Hazare tournament to get back into the groove.
"This time I have worked hard on my fitness. I have spent a lot of time with the trainer and bowled a lot. I worked very hard before the domestic season, and even now I am working hard. I will try to play in the upcoming domestic matches.
"Right now I am playing in the PSPB tournament (representing ONGC), after that there is Corporate, Ranji ODI trophy and T20. I will play in the short formats and try to perform well in them," he said.
Image: Munaf Patel
Photographs: Luke Walker/Gallo Images/Getty Images